Person 2 Person: Brenna Huckaby

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Person 2 Person: Brenna Huckaby (Photo courtesy Joe Kusumoto)

(KUTV) Brenna Huckaby is a Paralympic snowboarder who won two gold medals in the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympics.

She grew up as a gymnast, and was interested in snowboarding because it "reminds me of a balance beam."

"I just immediately fell in love with it," she said. "I fell in love with the challenge."

But at 14 years old, she was diagnosed with cancer and lost her leg to amputation.

"It wasn't until the night before my amputation that things kind of settled in," she said.

But, she knew she could get through it.

"There are times where now, even today, I look back and I'm like, 'You are a cancer survivor. You can go out and do this. Stop doubting yourself,'" Huckaby said.

The hospital that treated Huckaby sent her on a rehabilitation ski trip to Park City, where she decided to get serious about the sport.

So her mother moved with her from Louisiana to Utah to pursue snowboarding.

It wasn't long before she started competing and doing well--including winning World Championships.

"I was like, 'Ok. You've got new sights to set. Paralympic gold is what you want,'" Huckaby recalls thinking on the podium.

She met those goals in the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games with two gold medals.

One of those wins she dedicated to her two-year-old daughter, Lilah.

She said "For Lilah" before her first race.

"I decided to come back to snowboarding after having her because I wanted to show her no matter what happens in life, you keep going and you chase your dream," Huckaby said.

But there have been times when Huckaby doubted herself, and found herself feeling that way in Korea.

"I remember standing at the top and just reminding myself why I was here, what I was doing this for," she said.

And when she thought of her love of snowboarding and love of her family, she knew she could do it.

"It was just like nothing else mattered," she said.

Part of her family includes her fiancé, Tristan, who is Lilah's father.

They met snowboarding in 2014, and the rest is history.

"Motherhood has changed me so much. It's no longer about you. It's about what's best for all of you," Huckaby said.

Not only is Huckaby an athlete, cancer survivor, and mother; she can also add Sports Illustrated swimsuit model to her resume.

She appeared in the most recent Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

"That was one of the best things that I've done," she said. "It was scary because I was putting myself out there in a way that I have never done and I hadn't really seen very many women with disabilities do it, and so I was like this is a huge deal."

But, she said she felt comfortable and confident during the whole process.

Huckaby has struggled with body images issues as long as she can remember.

"It took a lot of self reflection--amputation is one of the things and having Lilah is another thing that just really showed me, 'You are gorgeous and it doesn't matter what your body looks like.'"

Huckaby looks back on her life and knows her life would have been great, with or without amputation.

"I don't know if it was for a purpose. But if it is, I'm very thankful for it. And if it's not, I'm very thankful for it. I'm very happy where I am," she said.

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